GSN Review: Kavalan Pedro Ximénez Single Cask Whisky

Kavalan, which means “flatland people,” is named after the Taiwanese aboriginal ethnic group that originally inhabited modern-day Yilan County, where the Kavalan distillery resides. The warm sub-tropical climate of Taiwan ensures the whiskies mature faster than their Scottish, American and Japanese counterparts. Yilan was selected for its abundant supply of cold spring water flowing through the Central and Snow Mountain ranges and for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean resulting in ocean mists and mountain winds circulating around each cask. Master Blender Ian Chang has quickly established a reputation for his innovative incorporation of various types of wood casks.  Accounting for the tastes of Taiwanese drinkers, Kavalan whiskies boast fruitier flavor profiles, thanks to modifications such as stainless steel fermentation tanks, oil-based fuel instead of peat, and ex-sherry, port and bourbon barrels for aging; all Kavalan whiskies are non-chill filtered and natural in color.

Single cask, hand bottled at cask strength. The new make spirit that matures in PX Sherry casks produces distinctive rich flavors and a classic fruity, nutty aroma. PX Sherry wines are produced using at least 85% of their namesake grape varietal and are particularly sweet in style. However, as they grow older they also gain a rich acidity, conveying elegance in flavor. The used PX casks impart a beautifully rich profile to this expression.

Kavalan Pedro Ximénez Single Cask Whisky (111.2 proof)
Visual: Orange-brown.
Nose: A light, yet direct sherry nose with a touch of ripe grape on the nose. Some spice, some florality and a softly reticent malt body.
Taste: Quite sweet and sherry forward with a unidirectional flavor palette. This is simply a whisky that knows what it wants to be and heads in that singular direction.  As the minutes progress, more of the vine fruit character comes out, leaving the malt flavor trying to play catch up.
Finish: Medium long with more sherry character than expected taking the lead. Amazingly, the fruit hangs on for well over ten minutes.
Overall: I’m reminded of early 20th century libations served to heads of state and dignitaries. An excellent dry dessert-like whisky that begs for toasting a special occasion.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Kavalan Whisky

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